Omega 3 and depression are tightly related for many of us. Studies are published regularly that reinforce the need for Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy brains. Depression is a sure sign of poor brain health; Omega 3 for depression is critical in many cases. When we are newborn babies and living on our mother’s milk, nature puts these beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids in her milk to provide us with this necessary fat for our developing brain. As we age, low Omega 3s are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s. In between, low Omega-3 fatty acids can cause depression.
Omega 3 and Depression Strategy
We need an Omega 3 strategy for the short game and the long game. The short game helps us survive today and climb out of the depression pit we may be in. The long game helps keep us from falling back in that pit and, in addition, from developing diseases associated with an aging brain. Both supplements and food can optimize our Omega 3 and depression strategy.
Omega 3 for Depression: Supplements
To fight depression in the short term, we probably need an Omega 3 supplement and research suggests we need a pretty big dose of Omega-3 fatty acids to fight depression. Supplements with other Omega fats generally are not going to be useful to improve our Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio. In particular, avoid supplements like Omega 3-6-9 supplements. You definitely don’t need more Omega-6s in your diet and if you have olive oil on your salads, you’re good on the Omega-9s as well.
Watch the video below for more information on how much Omega 3 to take (and read this abstract for a touch of background).
Omega 3 and Depression: Foods
For the longer-term, begin a diet make-over reducing the Omega-6 fats in your diet and increasing Omega-3s. Ultimately, you want to be consuming about equal portions of Omega-3s and Omega-6s, as your ancestors did. Middle America now consumes fifteen to twenty times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. Work on reducing Omega-6s. An easy way to do this is by selecting the right oils for your meals. Here is a list of vegetable oils and their Omega-6 content. Cut out the worst offenders.
Next you should be replacing some of your protein foods with protein foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Your best Omega-3 option is fish and seafood. These foods are in a league of their own in the Omega-3 department. The only animal food that comes close that is not from a water-bound animal, is actually the liver of beef cattle or sheep fed a diet of grass. (Grass fed beef liver and Omega-3s).
Grass fed beef can also be a good choice in keeping your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio in check, but it is not in the same league as seafood or liver. If you are not won over by seafood or liver, a good vegetarian option is actually an egg from a chicken that is free to roam and eat weeds and bugs. In the spring and fall when the grass is moist and bugs are in abundance, this type of egg can be a nutritional powerhouse. The Omega-3 eggs in stores are a good option as well. A plant-based alternative is flax seed.
If you are allergic to fish, by all means don’t eat it. Do not take a fish oil supplement either. Work on those Omega-6 levels, reducing them as much as possible.
Omega 3 and Depression: Trans Fats
Trans fatty acids are being banned in a number of places in the country but you will still encounter them in most restaurants during your outings. In the context of your Omega-3 status, you should know that trans fats actually block your absorption of Omega-3s. The French fries are not only adding to your calories and fat intake, they are reducing your body’s ability to incorporate Omega-3 fatty acids into its brain. Avoid them. Begin to rebuild your brain instead with Omega 3 for depression.
More Than Omega 3 for Depression
As you ponder your Omega 3 intake, consider other nutrients as well that could help rebuild your brain. The Rebuild from Depression book examines them and helps you determine with clinical tests whether you would benefit from them.
Regardless, do begin to focus on Omega 3 for depression. An old Chinese proverb tells us, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.”
Indeed, your body builds new blood cells every single day and they take the place of old ones. What building blocks will you be giving those cells today? We recommend Omega 3 for depression.
More On Omega 3, Depression, and Foods
Adding Omega 3-rich foods to your diet is critical. You will find an abundance of resources on this site and a careful analysis in the Rebuild From Depression book. However, there is no reason you cannot start today, with dinner, on improving the amount of Omega 3 in your diet and rebuilding your brain from depression.
Omega 3, Depression, And Salmon
A favorite food of many for Omega 3 is salmon and we have a great, simple recipe on this site for grilled salmon highlighted in the video below. See the recipe for details: grilled salmon. Do not miss the homemade tartar sauce.
Omega 3, Depression, And Liver
Another food high in Omega 3s and other depression-fighting nutrients is actually liver of beef, lamb, pork, chicken (and so on). We recommend that you buy liver from an animal that has been grazing on grass (and, preferably, finished on grass too) because the Omega 3 content of the liver is much higher. Either way, the liver is also loaded with B vitamins, but notice the difference in the figure at right in the Omega 3 for depression in the liver under the two feeding systems.
Check out our video recipe on flash fried liver which we deem as one of the most palatable ways to eat a piece of liver. Alternatively, the liver pate route is an exceptional one. I keep pate around and eat it with cream cheese on a cracker or a vegetable. It is a great meal in itself and seems to keep up my energy levels. Below is a simple liver pate recipe, but I have also found some pretty good canned liver spread from New Zealand. The cattle graze all year round there, so it’s a pretty good choice when you are going with a canned product.
Liver PateBoil or bake until tender 1/2 pound of liver with 2 slices of onion, 1 clove, 1 bay leaf crumbled, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a dash of pepper, and stock or water to cover. Cool in the liquid and drain. Put twice through a food processor. Mix well until smooth adding 3 tablespoons of butter and soup stock or water to moisten.
Liver and salmon are just two Omega 3-rich foods which may help you fight depression. The Rebuild from Depression book offers a list of over fifty foods in every food group that have brain-building nutrients, including Omega 3 for depression.